AFC Fylde 2 Maidenhead United 1: Tom Crawford fires winner as Coasters come from behind to keep promotion bid on track
Fylde completed a double over Maidenhead but their second National League victory against the Magpies proved far trickier than the first.
Challinor made two changes to the side which won through to the FA Trophy semi-finals a week earlier. Alex Reid, who scored the winning penalty against Barnet, was promoted to the starting line-up in place of Serhat Tasdemir, while an attacking line-up also saw Ash Hemmings replace Andy Bond.
Maidenhead were first on the attack in a frantic game as James Comley’s dangerous cross was guided back to Adrian Clifton, whose low effort was kept out smartly by Fylde number one Jay Lynch.
The visitors dominated the early play and were ahead after 10 minutes, when Ryan Upward caught a volley sweetly inside the box and the ball nestled in the back of the net.
Fylde almost equalised instantly as their first attack of note saw Nick Haughton and Zaine Francis-Angol combine to release Reid, whose powerful effort from close-range was deflected just over.
The Magpies continued to threaten and Sam Nombe provided a menacing outlet on the right, his pace causing repeated problems to keep Fylde defenders Neill Byrne and Jordan Tunnicliffe on high alert.
Fylde restored parity in the 31st minute, with no prizes for guessing the goalscorer.
Danny Rowe, who had bagged a brace in the teams’ previous meeting, netted his 23rd league goal of the season to make the most of Reid’s lay-off.
Rowe twisted and turned in the box before firing a low shot beyond full-stretch goalkeeper Carl Pentney to go two clear at the top of the league’s scoring chart.
Maidenhead assistant manager Sam Lock said later: “Rowe showed why he’s the top scorer in the league. He had one clear-cut chance and took it. I felt we could have defended it better but it was a very, very good goal.”
It remained 1-1 until the break, but as in the first half the visitors were first to make an impression after the restart.
Ryan Clerima’s cross found Clifton in plenty of space, and when he nodded home from five yards Fylde were relieved to see the flag raised for offside.
The Coasters responded well as a flowing move produced a shooting chance for Francis-Angol, who struck the ball well but Pentney made a smart save at his near post at the expense of a corner.
The winner came from an in-swinging corner in the 57th minute courtesy of Tom Crawford’s second Fylde goal.
The Notts County loanee found himself free on the edge of the area and rifled home, scoring on his second consecutive appearance.
Maidenhead responded well, with a host of set-pieces to test the home-side as Comley’s delivery continued to cause problems.
The final chance of the game fell to the visitors as Josh Kelly found himself free in the box but couldn’t get a shot on target.
There’s no change at the top as the three teams above Fylde also won, leaders Wrexham still six points ahead of the Coasters from a game more. Maidenhead slip to 18th, five points above the drop zone.
Challinor said: “We saw the game out but I wasn’t overly happy with how we did it. We almost left it to chance.”
Fylde: Lynch, Birch, Francis-Angol, Byrne, Tunnicliffe, Croasdale, Crawford, Haughton (Odusini 90), Hemmings (Tasdemir 76), Reid, Rowe; subs not used: Bond, Philliskirk, Walters
Maidenhead: Pentney, Clerima, Steer, Obileye (Odametey 70), Kilgour, Comley, Clifton (Fondop 60), Akintunde (Kelly 80), Upward , Massey, Nombe; subs not used: Kelly, Twumasi, Owusu.
Referee: Martin Woods